Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Screen time & my kids

I have a love/hate relationship when it come to tv and my kids.

I hate that if they could choose one thing to do, they may very well pick watch tv. I hate that I have to constantly monitor how much they watch. I hate that when they are watching tv they can barely be interrupted, even though they are almost watching a show they have seen before.

I love that if I really need to get something done, I can turn on the tv and know I won't be bothered until what they are watching is over.

We have one rule that we do not waiver from. The tv does not get turned on before school. Most days my daughter doesn't watch it after school either. In the afternoons my son watches some tv after lunch while I am getting things done around the house and while the two little ones I watch are napping. If I am not careful before I know it he will have had three hours of straight tv time.

While my kids mostly want to watch tv they do occasionally play games on pbs kids or on the iPad. Lately, when I would tell my son no more tv he would want to play on the iPad or computer. So, I introduced the concept of screen time and began to limit it. I decided four shows would be enough. That is a little under two hours. As I write it it sounds like a lot, but I've always been honest on this blog and that is honestly what I allow.

I wanted to come up with something that would help the kids see how much time they used and how much time they had left. I also wanted them to be able to keep track themselves. I know there are probably a ton of crafty ideas out there. I didn't have time to look for them. I wanted something quick. I figured I could come up with something better this summer if I need to.

This is what I did.
I took blue painter's tape and stuck it to the wall mounted file holder I have for each kid. I made a straight line marked with 15 minute intervals. After 60 minutes I started back at 15. At each 30 & 60 interval I also wrote what number show that would equal. (30 minutes would be 1 show, 60 minutes is 2 shows) I did it that way because that is usually how my kids watch tv. Instead of tracking their exact minutes it is based on shows. They do sometimes play games on the computer or iPad, that's why I also included the minutes. I used a little person shaped clip I already had that moves to show elapsed time.
It didn't take very much time to do but the second went even faster than the first. For the second I just placed the new piece of tape over the completed piece (see above.) I used a bookmark that was handy (I didn't even have to go get my ruler) to draw the line. Then, I marked the intervals by drawing a line on the new tape right under where the original marks were on the first piece.
As always, more practical than pretty.

It has worked great. It's amazing how quickly kids take to something like this. The first or second day my son walked over to his and moved the little guy on his own.

I am linking up to Works for Me Wednesday.

1 comment:

  1. What a great idea! Thanks for your honesty; on the face of it, 2 hrs does seem like a lot, but with all the screens available in our house, 2 hrs flies by quickly.